2023 NKBA awards: Colour and texture are a ‘significant trend’

The 2023 NKBA awards show that colour and texture are making a comeback in Ottawa.

Entries in the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Ottawa Chapter’s Design Excellence Awards earlier this month included a healthy splash of colour, pattern and texture — likely a response to three years cooped up at home during the pandemic, says chapter president and gala chair Natalia Pierce.

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“There were projects that had some great pops of colour and some depth. Between colour and texture, they seem to be the leading direction where people are going,” she says, adding that it’s not just a trend in Ottawa, but in the industry in general. “When we were at the kitchen and bath industry show in February, everything was about colour.”

It was also a trend that judge Anne-Marie Brunet of Sheridan Interiors picked up on.

“We’re dipping our toe back into it,” she says. “I think people are looking for inspiration to get out of this mental health doldrum that we’ve been stuck in for so long … The more people see it, the more we show them how to use it, they’ll be a little bit more flexible.”

2023 NKBA awards contemporary kitchen black hood
Kitchen – contemporary/modern, price group 3 – 1st place: Darien Wilson, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets.

That doesn’t mean white has disappeared. There’s still a heavy dose of it in our kitchens and bathrooms. But today it’s often infused with wood accents or deeper veining in counters and backsplashes or a mix of cabinet colours. Of the 15 winning kitchens, only four were all white. And among the winning bathrooms, only one of 12 had a white palette and even that included subtle earth tones to warm it up.

This year’s awards saw 90 entries in 15 categories ranging from classic and contemporary kitchens and bathrooms to best transformations, bonus rooms and getting the look on a budget. Entries were judged by six industry experts, with trophies in most categories awarded for first and second place.

The awards were presented May 6 at a black-and-white-themed gala at the National Arts Centre that was emceed by former CTV news anchor Michael O’Byrne and attended by just over 170.


Trophies were also given out for the people’s choice bathroom and kitchen. All kitchen and bathroom entries were eligible and were voted on by the public over two weeks in March, with 1,213 votes cast for kitchens and 648 for bathrooms. The winning projects — a kitchen by Caroline Nantel of Louis L’artisan and a powder room by Vida Kiani of Kari Design & Build — also took second place in their respective categories.

A final award was given to Laurysen Kitchens for its longstanding and extensive support of the association and the industry. Called the Doris Lacroix Award, it is named after Ottawa kitchen design pioneer Doris Lacroix and awarded to a person or company in the association who makes an extra effort to give back to the kitchen and bath industry.

“Not only has this company provided integral support for the kitchen and bath industry for over 50 years, they are outstanding members of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ (Association), Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association, and the NKBA Ottawa Chapter. They have been in leadership roles for each organization,” said Lacroix in announcing this year’s winner.


Added Pierce: “They’ve just been an amazing supporter of the chapter.”

2023 NKBA awards Laurysen Kitchens Doris Lacroix Award
Doris Lacroix Award: Laurysen Kitchens. Pictured with Lacroix (who is second from the left) are from left to right: Michael Laurysen, Caroline Castrucci and Corey Laurysen of Laurysen Kitchens. Photo: Shawn Moreton Photography

In a post on social media, Laurysen thanked its staff “for continuing to inspire and innovate in the kitchen and bath industry.”

Recurring themes

Other trends or themes among the entries included:


Artisanal tile & sinks: Handmade tile is very big, says Brunet. It adds a layer of texture and a “human quality to it of something that’s been hand-touched.” And bathroom sinks that are either decorated or are stone vessels bring “something that has that whole natural feel to it.”

Traditional leanings: There’s a resurgence of more traditional architectural elements such as columns, panelling, crown moulding and cabinetry details, she says.

Tambour panels: The people’s choice bathroom winner hints at this trend, which Brunet is seeing “on just about everything — vanities, kitchens, furniture.”


Wood elements: Mixing and matching various wood features from butcher block to wood shelves, beams or an accent on the range hood “is very, very big,” she says. Along with that, incorporating at least a bit of a wood counter is in demand.

Integrated appliances: Hiding the fridge, in particular, behind panelling to get away from stainless steel is becoming more popular. “We’re trying to bring in more style and layering to the kitchen.”

2023 NKBA awards in pictures

Here are the winning projects from this year’s awards:


About the Author

Anita Murray All Things Home Ottawa homes

Anita Murray

Anita Murray is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and owner of Three C Communications. The veteran journalist has covered the Ottawa housing industry since 2011.



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